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The Impact of Quiet Time on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Soundscape and Patient Outcomes

Jonathan R Weber, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Healthcare is currently transitioning from prioritizing survival to prioritizing patient care with the expectation of survival. In response, current research intends to explore and ultimately identify an optimal hospital environment. Noise is one aspect of the hospital environment that has gained attention as patients and staff commonly complain about noise and related interruptions. Intensive care units are often susceptible to noisier environments resulting from the requirements of urgent care. Administrative interventions such as Quiet Time are a strategy to reduce noise levels without sacrificing patient care. Despite gaining popularity, there is limited published research that rigorously evaluates the effectiveness of Quiet Time from both acoustical and medical perspectives. The presented work includes a longitudinal study of Quiet Time in multiple neonatal intensive care units. Both acoustical and patient physiological measures were taken with the intention of: 1) characterizing the relationship between Quiet Time and the measured soundscape, 2) investigating potential relationships between Quiet Time and infant health, and 3) exploring potential relationships between the measured soundscape and infant health. Results including detailed acoustical analysis of traditional and newly-developed metrics and statistical models relating both Quiet Time and soundscape to patient physiological response will be presented. Taken as a whole, the research provides insight into the effectiveness of Quiet Time interventions and the relationships between hospital noise and infant health.

Subject Area

Obstetrics|Architectural engineering|Nursing|Acoustics

Recommended Citation

Weber, Jonathan R, "The Impact of Quiet Time on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Soundscape and Patient Outcomes" (2018). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI13420611.